2 different blue wallpapers used in timber panels
Modern Living

Using wallpaper paneling in 2024

In the realm of interior design, many trends come and go. Wallpaper paneling is one that is firmly on the rise.

As homeowners and designers alike seek innovative ways to elevate their space, the resurgence of this classic technique begs the question: does paneling have a place in a modern interiors?

In this mini exploration of modern interior design, we delve into the captivating world of wallpaper panels, uncovering their versatility, practicality and undeniable charm. From addressing the perennial query of whether we can wallpaper over panels to unveiling the latest trends in interior wallpaper aesthetics.

Lee installing wallpaper mural in panels

What is wallpaper paneling?

The practice of using wallpaper paneling traces its roots back centuries, with its origins rooted in the opulent interiors of European palaces and aristocratic homes. During the 16th and 17th centuries, wallpaper emerged as a luxurious alternative to costly tapestries and intricate wall paintings. This offered a more affordable yet visually striking option for adorning walls.

As wallpaper gained popularity, particularly during the Victorian era, the concept of paneling began to evolve. Rather than covering entire walls with wallpaper, homeowners and designers began to strategically apply wallpaper within defined panels, often framed by ornate moldings or woodwork. This also offers a flexible and budget friendly option to hanging art.

Cole and Son Treillage blue wallpaper in panels
Cole and Son Treillage

Wallpaper paneling inspiration and techniques

This traditional style can be used in a variety of ways; you can emulate a heritage look or we will look at ways you can modernise this wallpaper technique for a new take on a classic look.

To create a more traditional look you can simply choose a wallpaper to hang directly to the wall inside a timber trim. This can be as ornate as you like or that is fitting to the period of your house.

Lilliana 1838 wallcoverings. Floral wallpaper pattern used in panels
Lilliana 1838

Wallpaper that looks like paneling

Traditionally paneling is made of wood. So how about using a timber effect wallpaper to create your “paneling” effect. There are a variety of vintage, cane, tile or timber effect wallpaper patterns you could utilise to achieve this.

rolls of beige vintage wallpaper that looks like panels
Vintage Panel
Cane effect wallpaper pattern
Cane Webb

To achieve a more modern take on using wallpaper in panels try installing a whole wall of wallpaper and hanging a frame over the top. If you already have wallpaper and are looking for an update your look, this would be perfect!

Or perhaps you use a super contemporary wallpaper within your panels to mix things up for a modernised twist.

Graham and Brown
Bird Sonnet by 1838 wallpaper used with a frame for a unique bedhead
Bird Sonnett 1838

Can you wallpaper over VJ paneling?

You can’t wallpaper over timber paneling unless it is flush and smooth. VJ’s have grooves and so the wallpaper will not have a flat base. This would cause bubbles to appear in the wallpaper.

Is wallpaper paneling on walls outdated?

As you have seen in the inspirational ideas above there are many ways to use wallpaper in panels in a modern way. And whilst this a more traditional technique we are seeing an uptick in interior designers using this trend in very clever ways. The homeowner will see this trend on socials and no doubt emulate it. So i am predicting this as an up and coming trend into 2024 and beyond.

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